PCT Journal, Chapter 5

Mr Roboto comments: This is the unedited journal of my 2005 thru hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. Chapter five begins after a week off in Eugene and chronicles the final push to the northern terminus in Canada. 

7/30 Back on the trail after a week off in Eugene. Not 100% recovered but feet & legs are rested. Sad night last night. Tough good-bye with Sue this morning as she dropped me off at the Downtown Athletic Club. My hiking club planned a send-off hike to the PCT at Santiam Pass as their monthly outing.

The group heads out to Santiam Pass after coffee & scones at Starbucks. Nice, slow hike towards Three-fingered Jack. Answered lots of questions about my trip. Said good-bye at the afternoon turn around spot. Continued on until 7 pm. Camped at Rockpile Lake. 14 miles with slow pace, tender feet & heavy pack.

7/31 19 miles, camp at Bays Lake in Jefferson Park. Took it easy today, still adjusting to hiking again. Approaching majestic Mt Jefferson met two female section hikers “Garlic” & “Pockets”. Friendly girls, invited me to camp with them. Stop at gorgeous, overused Jefferson Park (meadows with lakes reflecting the mountain). After setting up tents they invited me to skinny dip with them. Swam in clear, deep water with awesome views(!). Nice dinner at lake shore watching alpine glow.

8/1 26 miles, camp past Chinquapin Viewpoint. High clouds move in this morning. Left camp early while trail nymphs slept.  Pleasant morning climb to ridge with views of Mt Jefferson & Mt Hood. Quiet hiking past several lakes. Early lunch at Upper Lake. Arrive at Olallie Lake Resort by noon. Met some hikers, sat for a couple of hours drinking soda. Re-energized for afternoon hiking.

8/2 33 miles, camp at Twin Lakes Loop trail. Easy miles today on familiar terrain (Mt Hood ultra). Wanted to get close to Timberline Lodge at Mt Hood to make their famous all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet tomorrow. Hikers, bikers & horses on the trail. Bear #5 this morning. Ate some good, ripe huckleberries. Lost 45 minutes for an unforgiving BM this morning.

8/3 On trail by 5:45 ready to make tracks to Timberline. At the lodge by 8:30. AWESOME buffet only $11.95. Started with croissant & fruit (fresh watermelon, cantaloupe & pineapple) and great coffee. Three glasses from fresh oj machine. First trip: eggs, sausage & bacon, pancakes, potatoes. Second trip: eggs & pancakes. Third trip: make your own waffle with strawberries. STUFFED is the word. Then waiters announce chef made complimentary pastry for everyone. Afterwards sat on big sofa with big windows looking at Mt Hood in food coma.

Call Sue, head out by 10:15. Tough trail climbs up & down deep river canyons. Rest at Ramona Falls. Cook dinner on trail with views. “No Way Ray” comes by, we hike to Lobo Pass and camp. Flies were annoying. 24 miles.

8/4 Wake up & leave before No Way Ray at 5:40. Easy hiking along ridges, views of Mt St Helens, Adams & Rainier before Indian Springs. Meet other hikers, take Eagle Creek alternate trail to Cascade Locks. Beautiful falls along Eagle Creek. Stop at two great swimming holes to cool off. Walk paved bike trail into town. Views of Columbia River and Bridge of the Gods.

Charburger for chow. Marionberry milkshake, Blueberry Pie, T-bone steak & potato: YUM! I go to RV park for possible camp. Too many barking dogs but owner let me stay in empty RV for $20. They have showers & laundry. Walk to Salmon Row Pub for several Walking Man Barefoot Brown Ales. Call Sue. Too hot to sleep in RV. 27 miles today.

8/5 After BM, go to Charburger for breakfast. Read paper while waiting for P.O. Shower, pack, have beers at Salmon Row while waiting for others.  No Way Ray & Walking Heads show up for lunch. Say good-byes, cross Bridge of the Gods into Washington at 2 pm. Twelve steep, hot miles, 3,000 ft climb to a saddle. Camp 8 pm. While eating dinner, heard rustling in brush. Watched a porcupine waddle through camp. Ugly suckers.

8/6 Porcupine greets me in the morning. More shaded forest walking up & down. Beer cache near road at 7:30 am – Breakfast of Champions. Stabler’s Store in afternoon (short ride in pickup), Ben & Jerry’s, liter of Mt Dew. Walk up the road to a food stand at someone’s home. Delana served a pastrami sandwich & soda.

Back to trail at Panther Creek campground. Stealth camp to avoid fee. Took a walk around campground loop to find yogi opportunities. Mostly families except for three guys sitting around picnic table stacked with empty beer cans. Bingo! Walked up, told them my tale, asked for a beer. Hung out the rest of the day, went for a beer run, friends show up, hot dogs & beer around the campfire til late. Stumble back to camp after 10 pm. 24 miles.

8/7 23 slow, tired miles today. Met “Start Slow” & “Taper Off” on trail. Saw elk #3. Camp at Blue Lake, take a swim. Windy evening, clouds moving in.

8/8 Nice morning, no clouds. 31 miles today, camp in meadow near Mt Adams. Pleasant, shaded walking, soft trail. On pace to make White Pass resupply by Thursday.

8/9 30 miles, camp on narrow side trail before Walnut Creek. Saw bear #6 this evening. Entering scenic Goat Rocks Wilderness tomorrow.

8/10 Spectacular day of hiking. Goat Rocks lived up to the hype. Reminded me of Glacier NP. Animals: 3 elk with huge racks, 14 mountain goats. High exposed trail along knife-edge ridges; steep, rocky trail with tricky ice patches. Beautiful meadows with views of Mt Rainier, Mt Adams & Mt St Helens. 26 miles, camp at Ginnette Lake.

8/11 Three mile walk to White Pass. Three cow elk. Windy & cold on the road to store/P.O. Mocha & breakfast burrito. Laundry. In free hiker box found fuel canister & sanitary wipes. Call Sue, hygiene with wipes. Slam liter of Dew, head back to trail.

Legs were tired but trail was nice with lots of friendly hikers, pretty lakes. 22 miles, camp near Laughing Water Trail. Elk noises during evening.

8/12 29 miles, camp at creek past Arch Rock Shelter spur. Lots of day hikers north & south of Chinook Pass. Several good yogi opportunities: apple, fresh cookies, energy bar. Twenty mountain goats near Big Crow Basin.

8/13 32 miles, cowboy camp on weather station yard. Easy morning, long afternoon of roller coaster terrain. Stop for water at Government Camp Shelter. Long, dry stretch with horses & motorcycles on the trail. Lots of clearcuts with ripe huckleberies.

8/14 Up early, on trail by 5:30. Rocky, up & down trail dragged on. Pretty Mirror Lake. Got to Snoqualmie Pass by 1:45. Call friend Kent in Seattle. Liter of Dew, burger, wait for Kent. At Kent’s place drank tequila, made calls, shower. Great dinner, watch TV late.

8/15 Sleep in, coffee, laundry, pack, breakfast wraps. Post Office, visit friend Don, friends at West Seattle YMCA. Luna Park for burgers, salad, beer. Nap at Kent’s. Internet update. Three bowls of ice cream, cookies, more tequila.

8/16 Have juice with Kent & Sherie waiting for Don. Don & I drive out to North Bend for filling breakfast. We get on trail by 9. Nice walk & talk with Don. Saw naked woman #7 . Good-bye to Don. Saw four mountain goats. 18 miles.

8/17 Mileage = ? Trail closed for maintenance, detour over Waptus Pass. Saw bear #7, lots of boy scouts. Watched a tree fall while eating lunch. Beautiful Cathedral Pass, some rain.

8/18 25 miles, camp at Valhalla Lake. Ordinary day, good weather. Hike through Stevens Pass ski area. Feet are hurting in new shoes.

8/19 27 miles, camp at Indian Pass. Start of the detour around Glacier Peak due to washed out bridge on PCT. Climbs, descents, views at Grizzly Peak, pretty lake Pear & Sallyann. Two guys bear hunting.

8/20 Tough day of hiking, 25 miles. White River trail – very brushy & unmaintained. Long climb over Boulder Pass, great views. Napeequa Creek ford – no problem. Exhausting bushwhack climb up to remote & secluded High Pass Basin to camp.

8/21 Four months on the trail. 28 miles, camp 3 miles from High Bridge Ranger Station. Plan to catch early bus to Stehekin tomorrow.

High Pass at 7,ooo ft; camp at 2,ooo ft. Awesome mountain scenery early, deep river canyon late. Toes are raw, body needs shower & clean clothes.

8/22 Easy 5 miles to Stehekin Valley Road bus shuttle pick-up. Bus stops at fabulous bakery then to Lake Chelan Landing. P.O. closed, phone busy! Must get errands done before last shuttle back to Stehekin Valley Ranch.

Finally reach Sue with surprise news about early finish coming. Got package in time for bus ride. Second stop at bakery then got a cabin at Stehekin Valley Ranch. Had lunch, shower, laundry (line dry), nap.

In afternoon, lounge in hammock reflecting on four month journey. It has been the toughest mental & physical challenge of my life. Felt I truly tested my limits.

Folks at another cabin invited me over for drinks on their deck. All went to dinner in dining hall. Fantastic food, 8 pies for dessert. Sat & talked with all the people drinking coffee & tea until 10 pm. Recharged for the last four days of the trail.

8/23 25 effortless miles, camp at Cutthroat Pass where I had taken friends hiking years ago.

Great ranch breakfast this morning: Omelet, biscuits, pancakes, hashbrowns, bacon. Help yourself lunch making table set up. Made a huge Dagwood sandwich, apples & cookies.

Cabin friends gave me ride to trail, hike with them a while. Steady climb & rain headed to Rainy Pass then Cutthroat Pass. Windy, cold night but protected campsite.

8/24 Another effortless day of hiking. 30 miles, camp at Windy Pass. Beautiful, sunny day of hiking, the miles are coming easy.

8/25 Why did I hike 30 miles? Because I can’t stop this hiking machine. Camp at Windy Joe Mtn PCT camp. Four miles from Manning Park.

Another beautiful day of hiking: cool morning, mild afternoon. Legs not perky but kept moving all day. Climb to 7,100 ft then downhill to US/Canada border monument. Bunch of ladies with llamas at Castle Creek. Had dinner, kept moving. Stop at 7 pm.

8/26 DONE! End of the hike. Downhill and out of the wilderness to lovely Manning Park Lodge. Arrive at 8 am, breakfast at cafe, saw “Rhino”. Made reservations for tomorrow on Greyhound & Amtrak. Sit in the sun, wait for room check-in.

Shower, lunch, nap. Beers at Bear’s Den, TV late. Ready to go home.

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